Thursday, April 28, 2016

Rusticana Wines and on to Goolwa -- seals, black swans and pelicans on the barrages

Rusticana Wines takes as its icon this ancient tree remnant which stands
preserved in their coutryard.
Rusticana Wines, sleepy and fragrant on a warm morning at Langhorne Creek
Newmans and Rusticana are two sides of the same company...

(All images are uploaded at large size -- click on them to pull them up BIG. Duh.)

The view from the cafe deck favors their fields and, beyond, the vineyards. What a glorious morning.
Access to the cafe and shop is up  ramp surrounded by tropical plants. Lovely!

Bees working hard in the lavender in the cottage garden out front.
...and we're off on the road to Goolwa in the early afternoon.
Goolwa: the main street, lined with fantastic coffee shops and specialty stores...
The historic Corio Hotel, established 1858, as you head out of town.
Houseboats moored on the riverbank, on the way down to the barrages and the Coorong...
A hot, bright afternoon right beside the Goolwa Barrages, Look to your right, and  --
Goolwa's signature, the Barrages. ..

...and yes, the public can walk out to the mid-point, right in the middle of the river. We did. It was hot!
The signboard in the water: the Coorong National Park begins right here, on the ocean side of the barrages
Black swans, cruising on the ocean side of the lock gates at Goolwa.

So surprising to see fur seals at Goolwa at this time of year, and especially to see them sun-baking ... fur coats and a healthy layer of blubber, in this sun! Looks are not deceiving; the day was a scorcher, especially when you didn't have a patch of shade, and even worse when the breeze dropped away.

We'd expected a stiff wind out in mid-water but at least when we were walking out there, the air was still and sizzling. The fur seals seemed to be soaking up the heat. They must be part feline.

Fur seal, basking in the sun on the lock gates at Goolwa, South Australia

This was also a great day for "birding" on the river because the waterbirds abounded, and were also close at hand as you strolled out to mid-water across the barrages.

Left: black swans, which were out by the fleet; below left: a silver gull, common in any part of Australia. Below right: a pelican -- one of scores that were fishing along the Goolwa Barrages, close enough to reach out and touch. Paradise for bird photographers and obviously not to bad for the waterbirds that thrive here.

A "trailer sailer" heads into the Coorong National Park for a day sail...
...alas, low water at the Goolwa Bid Hide, so it was lucky we'd had good "birding on the barrages...

Rusticana Wines -- aka Newmans, the horseradish farm at Langhorne Creek -- is a destination in itself. They stock gourmet foods from local chefs, such as (!) crocodile pate, and emu liver pate, home-made jams, dukkah from local almonds, and of course the full range of their own products, including wines to die for. The most intelligent thing I can do here is send you right to their website for information!

The Langhorne Creek region is gorgeous, and on the of the qualities they ought to be able to bottle and sell is the sheer peace and quiet. You have to be there to appreciate it. Open the car door, stop and listen before you even get out. You can't buy serenity, but this region dishes it up for free, and come back for seconds if you like. (Also, see this post, and this one, for other visits to Langhorne, and to Bleasdale Wines, just up the road from Rusticana.)

From Rusticana, it was on to Goolwa, and I (Jade) was actually wondering about stopping by the Corio Hotel for coffee. Always wanted to drop in there, and if you've seen their menu, you know why. Check out their website too!

But we decided to press on for the Barrages and the Bird Hide, and do the cafe thing another time (of course a year's gone by, and we still haven't done it). Barrages? What the heck is it all about? The story is here: ... and it's all about keeping seawater out of the Murray River. Orginally, the river mouth was closed off, the sea didn't get in. Then it was opened up for shipping, and (what a shock), a freshwater river turned brackish or downright salt, for about fifty miles upstream. Species died off -- it might have been good for business, but it was a natural disaster. Something had to be done, so ... lock gates, barrages, and a lot of work invested in encouraging reed beds to build a proper shoreline.

After the Bird Hide -- where the water was low and the birds much too far away to permit good pictures, we headed north with only one stop: a picnic at Mount Compass. Pictures there were too thin to be worth taking up page space here, especially as we'll be covering Mount Compass in the next trip. So --

Next up: Fall Colors and Crashing Surf, 2016. Coming soon.
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